American president Donald Trump announced that the USA will withdraw itself from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. This decision of the USA has triggered a debate that how it will impact the programs related to climate change around the globe.
In Paris, 195 countries signed an agreement to slow the process of global warming in December 2015. The countries pledged to make efforts to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This means that the countries were in agreement to try to reduce the increase in global temperature rise. Poor countries and island states requested a lower goal by considering threats of droughts and sea-level rise. The climate experts have also agreed that maintaining a 2 degrees decrease will be a challenge in itself. The agreement came into force in November 2016.
Another important point in this agreement was the decision to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to a level that can be naturally absorbed by soil, trees and oceans.
The presence of the USA in Paris Agreement was important because of so many reasons. So there is no doubt that The USA’s withdrawal will make it more difficult for the world to reach the goals that it set for itself in the Paris agreement. The US is responsible for 15% of global emissions of carbon, but it is also an important source of finance and technological support for developing countries in their efforts to fight rising temperatures.
The another impact would be the moral impact as the USA’s withdrawal will have impacts on other diplomatic efforts. Many environment experts have condemned this move of the US. They said that this expected withdrawal was a “historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality.
The key relationship that negotiated the Paris agreement was between the US and China. In 2015, USA President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping had found enough common ground to build a so-called “coalition of high ambition” with small island states and the EU. China has consistently re-affirmed its commitment to the Paris accord and will issue a statement with the EU tomorrow pledging greater co-operation to cut carbon. But, the USA’s withdrawal may have a slightly negative impact on China’s efforts.
The corporate sector in America is one of the strongest voices in favor of the US staying in the Paris. Leaders of companies such as Google, Apple and hundreds of other including major fossil fuel producers such as Exxon Mobil have urged the President to stick with Paris. The USA has shifted from coal to gas which is mirrored in other developed countries. The UK will stop using coal for the generation of electricity by 2025. In the USA, the number of jobs in the coal industry is now just a half of the number employed in solar. Coal still remains the major source of energy for developing countries but on other hand, the prices of solar energy and gas have been reduced. In recent auctions in India, the price of solar energy was 18% lower than the average price for electricity generated by coal-fired plants.
The USA’s energy production is now powered more by gas than by coal. So despite its withdrawal from the agreement, US carbon will continue to drop. The projections are that they will fall about half as much as had been planned by President Obama. The fracking revolution which happened in the oil producing countries has seen a huge jump in the production and a huge drop in the price of natural gas. Energy producers prefer gas because it is flexible and integrates better with renewable sources which are also growing rapidly.
The Paris Agreement has provisions which make the majority of other businesses, though, both competitive and shareholder pressures to cut their carbon emissions. The USA’s withdrawal might now symbolically take its foot off the climate policy pedal, the response of its businesses and cities is likely to ensure that the consequences are less severe than feared.
The USA prides itself as being the world’s leading innovator. So it can be expected that despite its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement there is a hope that its companies can make both America and the planet great again even if its leader refuses to engage.
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